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Semi Chemical Wood Pulp Market Demand and Opportunities

The chemical industry is focused to keep the business operations running along with ensuring the labor safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. To recover the losses created by the decline in demand for various products, the companies are capitalizing on the escalating demand for products such as disinfectants and personal protective equipment. Many leading players in the chemical industry have expanded their business to enter into the production of safety products. Companies are resorting to advanced technologies in production to reduce the dependence on work-force.

They are increasingly adopting advanced digital capabilities to integrate supply chain and logistics to ensure the effective delivery of products. The industry heads are seeking the real-time situation of their supply chains to identify potential weaknesses, especially in terms of geography, and strengthen it. The financial disclosures are being extended beyond the usual financial statements to deal with the risks that have aroused amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Market Definition and Introduction

Wood pulp is the ligno-cellulosic fibrous substance produced by either chemically or mechanically separating cellulosic fibers from the lignin present in wood. In semi-chemical wood pulping, wood chips are first softened by chemically treating them in a neutral sodium sulfite solution. They are then subjected to mechanical pulping action with the help of devices such as a disk attrition mill for separation of fibers. Such wood pulp produces high quality paper with varied characteristics.

The semi-chemical wood pulping method yields more as compared to the wholly chemical wood pulping method. In the former process there is approximately 50% lignin retention and 30-40% hemicellulose. Both these factors make semi-chemical wood pulping more commercially attractive than chemical wood pulping. Semi-chemical wood pulp finds utility in important manufacturing processes, such as in the manufacturing of high quality corrugated paper.

The most frequently applied technique in the manufacturing of semi-chemical wood pulp is the Neutral Sulfite Semi Chemical (NSSC) method, in which wood is directly used as a raw material without undergoing the debarking process.

Market Segmentation

On the basis of application type, the semi-chemical wood pulp market is segmented as follows:

  • Tissue manufacturing
  • Fine paper manufacturing
  • Carton manufacturing
  • Paperboard manufacturing
  • Magazines manufacturing

On the basis of production type, the semi-chemical wood pulp market is segmented as follows:

  • Semi-chemical pulp neutral sulfite method
  • Semi-chemical pulp bisulfite method
  • Semi-chemical pulp green liquor pulping method
  • Semi-chemical pulp sulfur-free pulping method
  • Semi-chemical pulp alkaline sulfite method

Key Trends, Drivers

It is noteworthy that the semi-chemical wood pulp manufacturing process is more cost-effective than any other chemical process. This, being a major advantage, drives the global semi-chemical wood pulp market. Moreover, there are numerous advantages offered by the semi-chemical wood pulping method, such as superior fiber strength and higher pulp yield and quality. These factors are expected to propel the global semi-chemical wood pulp market in the upcoming years.     

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However, stringent regulations regarding the plantation of trees at a global level could affect the growth of the semi-chemical wood pulp market in the next few years. Besides, worldwide regulatory bodies scrutinizing the use of chemicals in the process could also limit the growth of the semi-chemical wood pulp market in the near future.

A key trend in the semi-chemical wood pulp market is that major players are trying to develop processes with increasingly higher chemical recovery; which in turn could lower the production cost of manufacturing semi-chemical wood pulp, thereby driving the market even further. Another expected driving factor for the market is mergers and acquisitions by key market participants as an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. Partnerships and mergers have been a recent trend in the semi-chemical wood pulp market. This came into being because such collaborations help the producer acquire another company’s existing assets and infrastructure. Not only does this give the producer an immediate advantage over competitors, it also helps it gain a large base of new customers in the region. For instance, the Indian business assets (pertaining to pulp and paper manufacturing) owned by Connell Brothers were acquired by a US group, Solenis, a supplier of specialty chemicals.

Important regional trends have been observed in the southern U.S., where the semi-chemical wood pulping process has been undergoing a massive development – in the form of using of hard woods. Although multiple technologies have been developed for the manufacture of semi-chemical wood pulp, predominantly the neutral sulfite wood pulp process and modified sulfate liquors are applied. Also, a new type of semi-chemical pulp is made by chemically treating pulpwood logs under pressure, after which they are subjected to a grinding process, using conventional stone grinders. These new methods produce exceptionally high yields and high strength pulp from hardwoods.

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Market Participants

Examples of some market participants in the global semi-chemical wood pulp market are as follows:

  • JK Paper Ltd.
  • Ilim Group
  • China Haisum Engineering Co., Ltd.
  • Andritz Pulp and Paper
  • Arkhangelsk PPM

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